Even before GRACE Marketplace, a multi-resource facility for the homeless located off Waldo Road, opened in June 2014, homeless men and women migrated from across the city to set up tents in the adjacent land. Half of the residents agreed to the name Dignity Village. Since then, the city has purchased the 10 acres the camp stands on and voted to take responsibility for the encampment following two violent attacks in April.

Helping Hands, a medical clinic for the homeless, helped install sinks and two showers and distributed necessities like tents, flashlights, cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Being next to the GRACE facilities, the over-200 residents of Dignity Village can receive mail, store belongings and use the resources such as computer labs and libraries.

Bo Diddley Plaza has been closed since February. The residents of Tent City, an encampment in the woods south of the Gainesville-Hawthorne trail, were evicted in July 2014. And the directors of St. Francis House have said they are concerned about closing due to lack of funds. As it stands, Dignity Village is one of the only places in the city for a homeless person to live.

To learn more about volunteering at GRACE Marketplace, check out their volunteer page. For more opportunities to donate and regular updates, follow them on Facebook